Globally, about 40% of Tuberculosis cases remain undetected and the disease is still listed as a neglected. According to Joseph Mthetwa, Senior Health Officer at the Southern African Development Community (SADC), regional political commitment to ending TB exists. Hence, this can be leveraged to advocate and implement innovative and sustainable TB financing models that can increase Member States accountability and improve domestic budget allocation to invest in efforts to end TB in Africa by 2030.
“Improved resource investment to end TB will not only help us to find the missing, undetected TB cases but also increase efforts on TB prevention and treatment”, Mr Mthetwa said.
He was speaking at the 1st Meeting of the Community of Practise (COP) on Economies of Tuberculosis and Sustainable Financing taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from 21 – 23 February 2018 organized by NPEAD Agency. Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa have come together to establish the COP to support the development and implementation of innovative models for sustainable financing for TB and reduced direct and indirect cost of care that will increase access to TB treatment. Mozambique is the lead country under the regional coordination of NEPAD Agency and East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC).
Participants at the 1st COP Meeting discussed best practices and shared lessons learnt. One of the key aspects highlighted at the meeting is the need to boost the role of parliamentarians to enhance advocacy to improve domestic funding for TB interventions, and motivate countries and decision makers to embrace investment in innovative Research and Development (R&D). Parliamentarians can play a critical role in addressing the challenge of dwindling domestic financing for TB in African countries.
The Honourable Members of Parliament (MPs) present at the COP were heading delegations from Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. They called for the inclusive involvement of all stakeholders to turn the tide on TB financing. The Honourable MPs also highlighted the need to increase both financial and human resources towards the TB fight. Honourable MPs, Fako Mofokeng, Mark Michael Botomani, Valéria Mitelela, and Princess Kasune represented Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia respectively. A delegation from the South Africa Department of Health (DOH) also echoed the above words by stating that it is now time for parliamentarians to take responsibility and advocate for TB financing.
The COP was hosted under the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project. African countries can win the TB fight on the continent and improve the health status of its people by implementing innovative, sustainable TB financing models.